‘Legal high’ danger warning from Hatfield university team

Professor Ornella Corazza led a team presenting research to an international conference in Rome

Professor Ornella Corazza led a team presenting research to an international conference in Rome - Credit: Archant

Experts at Hatfield’s University of Hertfordshire warned of the dangers of the latest ‘legal high’ drugs at an international conference.

A three-strong team from the Department of Post-graduate Medicine on the College Lane Campus, presented research at a two-day conference they helped organise at a university in Rome, attended by 300 delegates from all over the world.

The event explored novel psychoactive drugs (NPS) which are coming onto the online market quicker than scientists can research their risks, and governments can ban them.

Professor Ornella Corazza, leader of the Hatfield team, said: “These drugs appear very quickly on the drug market in ever more sophisticated forms and may well have widespread and long-term effects on users’ health.

“The products are just a click away from our homes and thus potentially available to everyone, especially young people who are amongst the most at risk.

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“We currently provide evidence-based information on new psychoactive substances and services to vulnerable individuals, health and other professionals, policy makers and regulatory authorities in over 30 countries.

“This has increased awareness of risks, health prevention initiatives, policies and treatment provision in a rather unique way.

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“So far in 2013, more than one new substance has been reported every week.

“It is a challenge that needs rapid and innovative responses.”

According to Professor Corazza and her colleagues, such new drugs, which are often by-products of academic research, can be as harmful and addictive as cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine.

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